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Because it wasn't televised, because it was on a Saturday night and because Mitt Romney wasn't there, you probably missed one of the most bizarre debates of the primary season over the weekend in Iowa.

There was doom, gloom and talk of Christian persecution from the gathered candidates. Newt Gingrich told those dirty hippies in the Occupy movement to (literally) bathe and get a job. Then most of the candidates on stage cried.

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Current French President Nicolas Sarkozy still looks to be in trouble for re-election, as Social Party candidate Francois Hollande is up by 16 points in a direct matchup against him. France uses a two round system in their Presidential matchup, with an initial round of voting, and if no candidate gets more than 50 percent plus 1 vote, then a second round takes place weeks later between the top two voter-getters.

From Bloomberg Businessweek:

Hollande led 61 percent to 39 percent in the previous poll 10 days earlier, and 64 percent to 36 percent in October. In the first round of elections, Hollande would take 32 percent, Sarkozy 27 percent, and anti-immigrant campaigner Marine Le Pen 18 percent....In the previous poll, Hollande was seen taking 36 percent and Sarkozy 25 percent. According to the poll, 54 percent of Le Pen voters would opt for Hollande in the second round.

Only a few hours after UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi apologized to students for a pepper-spraying incident on campus last week, protesters again put up tents near the scene of the incident.

Via Associated Press.

The United States' economy grew by only 2 percent in the third quarter, the AP and Reuters report. It was earlier estimated to have grown at 2.5 percent.

Gov. Mitt Romney welcomed President Obama to the Granite State on Tuesday with an open letter. After acknowledging that the president took over the office during difficult times, Romney went on the attack.

“But we now have had three years to watch your policies unfold and to assess their results,” Romney wrote. “The evidence is in and it is unequivocal. I will be blunt. Your policies have failed. It is bad enough that they have fallen short even by the standards your own administration set for itself. But things are much worse than that. Far from bringing the crisis to an end, your policies have actively hindered economic recovery.”

He concludes that “America deserves better.”

The AP reports:

Turkey’s prime minister said Tuesday that Syria’s president must step down over the country’s crackdown on dissent, ratcheting up the pressure on the increasingly isolated Bashar Assad, as Syrian activists reported that four children were killed by security forces.

Michele Bachmann took to Fox and Friends Tuesday morning and said President Obama was “AWOL” during the critical moments of the deficit committee’s negotiations, the AP reports. Obama, Bachamnn said, “blames the people who are in the middle of the problem. We didn’t see this coming?”

When he takes the stage for yet another debate tonight Mitt Romney will face a new frontrunner: Newt Gingrich. Keep an eye out for what we're calling The Reagan Gap.

Gingrich has gotten where he is on the strength of his performance on the debate stage -- or, more to the point, his ability to use the debate as a means to mind meld with the GOP base. While Romney has held his own in the debates, he hasn't been able to use the forums catapult past the less conservative-friendly bits of his image like Gingrich has.

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Last week brought a survey from Magellan Strategies that showed a new result in the New Hampshire Republican primary -- former Mass Gov. Mitt Romney and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich were locked in a statistical tie for first place among a large sample of nearly 750 GOP primary voters. But a new poll from Suffolk University released Monday night found the race to be essentially where its always been, Romney with about two-fifths of the electorate and the rest of the field duking it out for the balance.

Romney leads the GOP field with 41 percent in the Suffolk poll, followed by Gingrich and Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) tied for second with 14 percent each. The other GOP candidates were each in single digits.

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